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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 12:53 GMT
Woman's historic legal selection
Valerie Stacey
Mrs Stacey has appeared in many major cases
A woman has been elected vice-dean of the Faculty of Advocates for the first time in its 500-year history.

Valerie Stacey has also become only the second female office-bearer since the foundation of the faculty in 1532.

Mrs Stacey, 50, who is married with two grown-up sons, began practice as an advocate in 1987 and was made a QC in 1999.

The Faculty of Advocates is a body of lawyers admitted to practise as advocates in Scottish courts.

Mrs Stacey is a member of the Sentencing Commission for Scotland and has served as a temporary sheriff.

She has been involved in numerous high-profile cases, including the fatal accident inquiry into the Wishaw E.coli O157 outbreak in 1996 and the inquiry into suicides at Cornton Vale women's prison.

Mrs Stacey was elected unopposed to succeed Roy Martin QC, who has been made dean of faculty.

Her appointment had a double significance for the faculty.

Not only did she become the first vice-dean but her election made her only the second woman to hold office since the faculty was established.

Dame Margaret Kidd served as Keeper of the Advocates' Library from 1956 to 1969.

Membership of the faculty stands at 736 and comprises practising advocates and QCs as well as many judges, sheriffs and academics.

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